Bernice Bricklin, a political activist and attorney, died at Cathedral Village in Roxborough on Dec. 19 from complications of COVID-19. She was 93.
Bricklin was born on August 4, 1927 in Philadelphia’s Feltonville section and graduated from Olney High School. Following high school, she worked as a service representative for Bell Telephone and then as an administrative assistant at the Miquon School, where two of her daughters were students.
She married Benjamin “Bob” Bricklin in 1949 and had three daughters, Shoshana, a Chestnut Hill resident; Lila, formerly of Chestnut Hill, now a resident of Germantown; and Aliza.
Bricklin was a founding member of the Whitemarsh Valley Fair Housing Council in 1965 and served as president of the Montgomery County Women’s Political Caucus in 1971. Her desire to help people and implement necessary change inspired her to go to college and become an attorney. She graduated from Temple University in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in history and received a law degree there in 1979.
As an attorney, Bricklin worked in private practice representing clients in cases of domestic violence and prisoner civil rights, immigration issues and employment discrimination. In the political arena, she served as a Democratic committeeperson in Roxborough’s 21st Ward and was the voter’s issues coordinator for the 2003 mayoral campaign of Sam Katz. Bricklin championed numerous other charitable organizations as a board member and volunteer, including InterAct, the health and human services organization in Roxborough.
She settled in Roxborough in the 80s and her companion of 22-years, Cy Keller, moved there from Baltimore in the 1990s. Keller died in 2005.
Even in retirement, Bricklin remained an active organizer and political activist. Her daughter, Lila, said her mother set an example for all three of her daughters.
“My mom, like all of us, was not perfect, but what she taught me about the importance of education, egalitarianism, diversity and social justice—and its connection to Judaism is the foundation she gave me and the way of life I have chosen for myself as an adult. It is not always easy, but it is right—for me,” she said.
Bricklin is survived by her three daughters, Shoshana, Lila and Aliza, and four grandchildren, Brahm and Gene Schultz and Jacob and Rachel Schwab.
The family held a funeral and shiva for Bricklin virtually this week. They have asked donations in her memory be sent to the following organizations:
Democratic Georgia Senate Candidates - secure.actblue.com/donate/2020gasenaterunoff
Philadelphia NOW - phillynow.org
Hadassah Greater Philadelphia - hadassah.org